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December 05, 2016
We’re in the “consumer culture” era for HR—are we prepared to serve a hungry market?
By: David Pereles

Consumers consume—that’s what they do.

We know this because each and every one of us is one. The product or service being consumed could be a smartphone, Bluetooth speakers, car insurance or World Cup tickets. You name it. If we want something, we want it now. And if we like it enough, chances are, we’ll consume again, and again.

The same principle applies to human resources. In recent years, we’ve witnessed an accelerating shift to the “consumerization of HR,” which author and consultant Jeanne Meister describes as the creation of a “social, mobile and consumer-style experience” for employees inside a company.

Today’s employees—millennials, in particular, but also other generations—want more than just a paycheck. They expect a “workplace as an experience” where they are actively, consistently, holistically engaged with the company culture. They want what they want, when they want it.

As HR leaders, it’s imperative we fully serve this audience, in part by recognizing that our employees are both customers and consumers of information. Our clients know their workforces demand more. They want to deliver the experiences their employees want, and do so accessibly and seamlessly. Their challenge: to move beyond antiquated, siloed systems and step into digital HR—fast.

We’ve be working to deliver just that for some time. In August 2015, Accenture launched its High Velocity Talent and HR solution for SAP SuccessFactors. Ever since, I’ve been inspired by the positive feedback and adoption from businesses of all shapes and sizes. To serve the HR “consumer,” we are continuously adding new digital innovations to our High Velocity solution, such as seamless user experience, intelligence, automation, robotics, just-in-time training with add-ons, such as WalkMe, etc.

Broadly speaking, clients are looking to the cloud and digital innovation to transform HR, elevating it from its traditional administrative function to more of a long-term, strategic growth driver for the business. They want to not just keep pace with change, but anticipate and be in front of it.

That’s why “speed-to-value” is core to our solution with SAP SuccessFactors. If a client can conceivably see their new HR solution coming within weeks or months, as opposed to years, that’s a breath of fresh air to them.

What does “high-velocity” HR look like from the employee’s point of view? So intuitive they may not even realize they’re using it—whether it’s for updating health coverage, announcing the birth of a child, managing talent development or submitting a change of address are only a handful of the items that can be done.

The High Velocity Talent & HR solution assumes the right balance of what self-service transactions are most relevant for employees and managers. High Velocity is the foundation which allows clients to invest time focusing on their unique employee consumption needs to have a great user experience.

Personally, I don’t remember the last time I contacted HR myself. I have access to everything I need online when I need it, a platform allowing for near-instantaneous feedback and collaboration. Moreover, as we reduce the need for time-consuming, mundane processes and tasks, HR and everyone else benefits—people are freed up to do much more.

It’s clear we have charged full-on into the “consumer culture” era for HR. Can we serve the demands of this hungry market? We better—and I know we will.

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